Show Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


Avicii

Avicii

Avicii Keeps The Beat In Milwaukee
22-Year-Old Tim Bergling, Better Known As Avicii, Moves The Masses
Show Review By Mario R. Martin
Posted: Jan 2012
(3661) Page Views

One wouldn’t dare call Milwaukee a DJ city. It’s also not mistaken for the birthplace of electronica or house music. But despite what Milwaukee might be known for, the institution known as The Rave has been good about bringing world renowned DJs to the people of Milwaukee. Saturday was no different when Milwaukee played host to 22-year-old Swedish DJ Avicii (born Tim Bergling).

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Wilco at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, WI

Wilco at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, WI

Wilco w/ Nick Lowe at Riverside Theater

Show Review By Joshua Miller
Posted: Dec 2011
(5398) Page Views

Wilco and Nick Lowe returned to the Riverside Theater with a thrilling night of rock and roll and quality songwriting.

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John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp
Riverside Theater 11/16/11
Show Review By Joshua Miller
Posted: Nov 2011
(3131) Page Views

Although he might often be left out of the conversation when talking about legendary singers, John Mellencamp has chipped out an impressive career of All-American, small-town hardworking folk/rock that’s in a league of its own.  Not only does he know how to create a rock anthem but also knows how to make a song with an impactful message.  While other singers might sing about mortality, faith and relationships, Mellencamp Indiana-raised honest approach has hit home with many people.  Over the past few years Mellencamp has played Milwaukee several times, including a stellar Farm Aid performance.  But in the intimate confines of the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, he and his band seemed to relish the atmosphere and for two hours provided a diverse collection of songs spanning Mellencamp’s career.

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Gordon Lightfoot - photo by Michael Sherer

Gordon Lightfoot - photo by Michael Sherer

Gordon Lightfoot - BB King’s, NYC, 9.12.11
Gordon Lightfoot - BB King's, NYC, 9.12.11
Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Oct 2011
(4151) Page Views

Canada’s Gordon Lightfoot gave his audience in the chaotic Times Square his sensitive, thoughtful, personal and self penned folk music, and they appreciated him giving his all in doing so. As it often happens over so many years though, Gord, as he’s affectionately known, doesn’t possess the strength in voice or body of the old days. Given that he’s 73 and suffered a near-fatal abdominal hemorrhage while performing in his hometown of Orillia, Ontario in ‘02, which put him in a coma for weeks, this is not at all surprising. The nearly life ending health scare took a further toll on what had already been a thin and lanky frame. Being a smoker for many decades and continuing to do only worsens things.

It’s clear that Gord does admirably try his best, and in a rather intimate setting like BB King’s, he still comes across with enough conviction to connect. His stellar band supports and accentuates him very effectively. They consist of bassist Rick Haynes, who’s been on board since ‘69, drummer Barry Keane, retained since ‘72, Michael Haffernan on keyboards, present since ‘80, and newcomer Carter Lancaster on guitar, who replaced long time guitarist Terry Clements after his most unfortunate passing from a stroke last year. They gel with exceptional ease, and don’t ever get in Gord’s way, which allows for him to be heard and understood.

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Billy Joel - photo by Michael Sherer

Billy Joel - photo by Michael Sherer

Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame - Marriott Marquis Hotel, NYC, 6.16.11

Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Oct 2011
(965) Page Views

The 42nd annual Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame was held on June 16th at the imposing Marriott Marquis Hotel in the middle of Times Square. This year’s ceremony honored John Bettis, Garth Brooks, Leon Russell, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly and Allen Toussaint. Veteran songwriting team and married couple Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil received the Johnny Mercer Award. The “Towering Song” distinction was “It Was A Very Good Year,” given to composer and lyricist Ervin Drake. The Hal David Starlight Award was also presented to Drake. The Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award recipient was Chaka Khan, and the first-ever Visionary Leadership Award was presented to SHOF Chairman Emeritus Hal David.

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Mike Watt at Shank Hall - photo by Joshua Miller

Mike Watt at Shank Hall - photo by Joshua Miller

Mike Watt & the Missingmen
Live @ Shank Hall April 16, 2011
Show Review By Joshua Miller
Posted: Apr 2011
(5373) Page Views

Punk rocker Mike Watt (Minutemen) & the Missingmen played Shank Hall with a lot of energy.

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Willie Nelson - photo by Jennifer Bronenkant

Willie Nelson - photo by Jennifer Bronenkant

Willie Nelson and Family
Live at the Riverside Theater 3/15/2011
Show Review By Jennifer Bronenkant
Posted: Mar 2011
(7291) Page Views

Willie Nelson played preacher man to a room full of believers with a show that felt like an old fashioned tent revival meeting. The enthusiastic crowd and Nelson seemed to feed off of each other’s energy to bring the mood at the Riverside Theater on Tuesday night to a fever pitch.

Opening the show with his standard “Whiskey River” and moving quickly on to “Still Is Still Moving To Me” and a medley of hits, Nelson had the crowd with his first note. Although the crowd remained seated during most of the performance, they rose to their feet in enthusiastic applause after every number.

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Philomena Lynott - photo by Michael Sherer

Philomena Lynott - photo by Michael Sherer

Still In Love With You - Philip Lynott exhibition opening
Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, Dublin, Ireland - March 4, 2011
Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Mar 2011
(2613) Page Views

“Still In Love With You” is a highly apt title for the most comprehensive Philip Lynott exhibition ever launched. Lynott is best known as the founder, singer and bassist of Thin Lizzy, who’s original life span was ’69 through ’83. The band has reunited a few times over the decades with new members, and are actually touring this year. The presentation purposely coincides with the 25 year mark of the tragic passing of Lynott, at the age of 36, from complications of drug abuse.

For full impact, the spread just had to be located in Lynott’s hometown of Dublin. (He grew up in the suburb of Crumlin.) The exhibit is situated on the top floor of Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, on Grafton Street. This is the city’s most well known street, located in the heart of the city. Philo, as he was affectionately called by many, hung out around this area aplenty. He worked on many song ideas at the sprawling and old time Bewely’s Cafe, also on Grafton, which opened in ‘27. It’s still there and looks even more attractive inside than ever after a renovation in ‘04.

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Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses - photo by Jennifer Bronenkant

Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses - photo by Jennifer Bronenkant

Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses
Live at the Rave 3/5/2011
Show Review By Jennifer Bronenkant
Posted: Mar 2011
(4451) Page Views

Raw and powerful — Ryan Bingham and The Dead Horses’ high energy performance rocked the small but ardent crowd at The Rave in Milwaukee.

Bingham’s career has been on the rise recently with Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe wins for his song “The Weary Kind,” which he co-wrote with T-Bone Burnett as the theme for the Jeff Bridges movie Crazy Heart. Burnett, a music industry hit maker, produced Bingham’s latest album Junky Star. Even with all of the recent success, Bingham’s current tour is still playing in relatively small venues across the country, and his music remains honest and real.

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God's Outlaw - photo by Jennifer Bronenkant

God's Outlaw - photo by Jennifer Bronenkant

God’s Outlaw
Kochanski's Concertina Beer Hall 2/12/2011
Show Review By Jennifer Bronenkant
Posted: Feb 2011
(8780) Page Views

When we first arrived at this classic Milwaukee bar, there were just a handful of people there along with friendly bar owner Andy. The band was just finishing up with a crew who had been shooting a new video an original God’s Outlaw song – “Uhaulin’”, the tale of a spat between lead singer Brian Smith and his wife. The atmosphere was laid back and friendly. We felt right at home.

The band’s loyal following quickly filled the house and at around 9, the band hit the stage. For about two hours, the trio entertained the crowd with the music of Johnny Cash along with some of their own originals, throwing in a little David Allan Coe and Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” per an audience request. Although they primarily perform Cash covers, this is no cheesy impersonator act. While they do sing the big hits like “Boy Named Sue” and “Folsom Prison Blues”, they add deeper Cash cuts to the mix creating a totally enjoyable experience.

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Mark Farner & camper - photo by Michael Sherer

Mark Farner & camper - photo by Michael Sherer

Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp finale show
Live at BB King's in New York City
Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Feb 2011
(2554) Page Views

Do you play an instrument and/or sing decently? Do you have $10,000 to spare for extensive jamming, recording and musical sparring with some well known rock stars for six days at the Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp? If not, how about $7,500 for the next package down? No? Then what about $5,500 for the next one? Still no? Then just go to the performance at the end. That’s what I did.

For some back ground, the camp is held in various cities throughout the U.S., London, England, and the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. It was founded in ‘97 by producer and former sports agent David Fishof. This time it was in the country’s media capital, NYC. The club BB King’s, located in Times Square, was the site of the finale show. It intermittently featured the famous camp counselors, which was exciting for all. They were Mark Farner, the former guitarist and singer with Grand Funk Railroad. Rudy Sarzo, the bassist formally of Quiet Riot, Ozzy Ozbourne, Whitesnake and currently with Blue Oyster Cult. Then there was Kip Winger, the bassist and singer of Winger. Drummer Sandy Gennaro, who’s played with many artists, including the Pat Travers Band and Joan Jett, laid down a rock solid beat. So did Dave Uosikkinen, the drummer of The Hooters. (Not at the same time, though.) There was also guitarist and singer Jeff Foskett, who plays with Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. Guitarist, producer and song writer Mark Hudson, who’s also worked with many artists, including Aerosmith and Ringo Starr, was on hand as well. Spike Edney, the keyboardist and guitarist who’s played with Queen and others, pitched in too. Special guests included drummer Simon Kirke of Free and Bad Company, singer and song writer Nona Hendrix, formally of LaBelle, bassist Cliff Williams of AC/DC and guitarist Gene Cornish of The Rascals. The headliner was Roger Daltrey, lead vocalist of The Who, of course. The band Three Doors down also performed, and were quite good. (And young.)

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Rob Paparozzi - photo by Michael Sherer

Rob Paparozzi - photo by Michael Sherer

Blood, Sweat & Tears
Live at Blue Note, NYC - January 18, 2011
Show Review By Michael Sherer
Posted: Jan 2011
(2425) Page Views

The Blue Note club is a great place to experience music up close and personal. When I heard Blood, Sweat & Tears there live, which was the first time I’ve caught them, I could have swapped the three words that comprise their provocative name for Chops, Swing and Power. Simply put, I was highly impressed with this band that was amongst the very first to fuse jazz and blues with rock when they formed in Greenwich Village, NYC in ‘67. (In the same neighborhood as the Blue Note.) 44 years on, an unbelievable amount of musicians have passed through their ranks. That number, about 130, I would surmise is more than any other band has ever had. With the exception of some guest spots over the last few years by original guitarist and occasional singer Steve Katz, there haven’t been any original full time members present since drummer Bobby Colomby left in ‘77.

I was especially knocked out at how adroitly drummer Andrea Valentini and bassist Gary Foote drove the whole group, and to the degree that they were locked in with each other. That still leaves six other instrumentalists and one singer. They’ve never been a small ensemble, and surely never will be. They can’t be for what they do. Four of the players are blowing horns, with Teddy Mulet and Steve Jankowski on trumpets, Jens Wendelboe on trombone and Tom Timko on sax, all bringing the group’s signature jazzy, nuanced brass lines front and center. Veteran Latin jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval was their featured guest, and his sweet, sensitive tone and flourishes added yet another layer. Keyboardist Glenn McClelland and guitarist Dave Gellis round the instrumentation out. Their singer is Rob Paparozzi, who is excellent. He’s reminiscent of their most famous vocalist that sang their biggest hits, that being David Clayton-Thomas. Paparozzi is also a stellar harmonica player, and whipped out that oft-undervalued mouth piece for a few songs. 

Many of their biggest hits were played, of course, such as Spinning Wheel, And When I Die, You’ve Made Me So Very Happy, and I Love You More Than You Ever Know, all contributing to this group’s back catalog selling an enviable number of records, that being in the neighborhood of 10 million. Interestingly, most of their most successful songs were covers, but were made more famous by them than their original writers. Of the above chart toppers, all were in fact covers except I Love You More Than You Ever Know, written by keyboardist and original lead singer Al Kooper.

The band’s name was chosen by Kooper as he was looking at the jacket of a Johnny Cash record with that title when a promoter asked him on the phone what the group’s name was. They had only recently formed and didn’t yet have one, but Kooper didn’t want to come up empty handed. He cited the words that were in front of him off the cuff, and they kept it. An emotional one, indeed. And while I wasn’t in tears per se as I was just a few feet away from the band’s heavy musical punches, their effectiveness did have my blood racing at times as they made full and clean contact.

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